El otro exilo ("The Other Exile") | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

El otro exilo ("The Other Exile") 

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They started out in 1990 holed up in a basement, where they created and intended to perform their work. Now, with El otro exilio ("The Other Exile") and its repertory companion Jardin de pulpos ("Octopus Garden"), Mexico City's relatively unknown Taller del Sotano ("Basement Workshop") are poised to become the find of this year's International Theatre Festival. Combining the cool, graceful physicality of France's Compagnie Patrice Bigel and the explosive despair of Germany's Pina Bausch with a nonchalant formality uniquely their own, Taller del Sotano create an intellectual and sensual feast in a minimalist style. El otro exilio follows Albert Camus (portrayed with unrestrained brilliance by Nestor Galvan) on a passionate, desperate, wildly imaginative psychological journey moments before his death. Playwrights Paulino and Rosa Sabugal, who based their work on Camus' writing as well as incidents from his life, and director Jose Acosta Navas create exquisite metaphors for Camus' absurdist worldview and his struggle to find joy in a world without hope. In one scene Camus tries to convince a younger version of himself not to commit suicide, but the only solace he can offer is an umbrella. When the youth finally takes his own life--on a beach crowded with colorfully clad bathers, no less--Camus lugs the corpse back to his library, lays it across his desk, climbs atop the body with his typewriter, and furiously pounds out a few lines. Performed on a blank stage with a minimum of props under gray, clinical lights, El otro exilio is as stark, eloquent, and enigmatic as the best of Camus' work. Wellington Theater, 750 W. Wellington, 831-2822 or 664-3378. May 26 through 29: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 PM; Saturday, 6 PM; Sunday, 7 PM. $20-$25.

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